US District Judge Jeffrey White of the Northern District of California has upheld some claims made against Google in a privacy suit that accused the search engine of using apps installed on mobile phones to collect persoanl data. Allegedly, Google used data from Foursquare, Groupon, Angry Birds, and Pandora to farm location, device identification, and personal information without user's consent.
One claim was tossed by the judge, restricting the suit somewhat. The judge found that plaintiffs weren't able to prove economic damages above $5,000, so the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act didn't apply to the case. California's Unfair Competition law applied, however, in that Google's data harvesting unfairly depleted consumers' batteries and inflicted undue wear and tear on the devices. The judge did note that "Google may not have manufactured plaintiffs' mobile devices, and plaintiffs may have an uphill battle proving this theory of standing."
White ruled that "they have alleged sufficient facts to show that they suffered an injury, the injury is fairly traceable to Google's conduct, and the injury could be redressed by the relief the plaintiffs seek." In the ruling, Google's mobile advertising platforms AdMob and AdWhirl were excluded from any damages.